I've been reading Psalm 4 devotionally for a couple of days now. Each time I read it, something new and fresh comes alive to me. The Bible doesn't record the circumstances that surround David's writing of this passionate hymn. But as I read, I realize it could well have been that he was in a caregiving season of life. Okay, maybe that's a stretch. But the content is so pointedly relevant to the caregiving journey that I'll let myself continue that delusion.
What makes me say that? One of the first things is what I learned from a Hebrew word study on the phrase the ESV translates as "given me relief" from the first verse. According to Charles Ryrie, it literally means, "made room for me in tight places."
If that doesn't sound like caregiving, I don't know what does. Hospital rooms--now those are some tight places. Doctor's exam rooms, too. And the shrinking resources to pay for the mounting financial obligations of care. Super tight space, for sure.
The calendar of a caregiver, now there's a tight place. Working. Tending to the needs of our aging loved ones. Keeping up other household responsibilities. Volunteering at church. Attending a child's (or grandchild's) sporting events. Being sandwiched between the generations. Oh, such tight places.
The health of a caregiver, now there's a really tight place. Forgetting to find time to eat, sleep or ... breathe. In some seasons, unable to set aside even a few precious moments for the refreshment of a conversation with our loving, waiting God.
Yes, the psalmist crafted an apt word picture for the caregiver. We truly are squeezed in some unbearably tight places.
Now, then, what does he tell us, from experience in those tight places? God is at work, especially in those spaces. David gives us the testimony of one who has been holed up in tight crevaces of rock--frantic to avoid his mortal enemy's sly advance. God made space for David in those distressing days. God put him in a place of safety even when all was raging around him. So now, this time that he's facing another of those seemingly hopeless challenges, David knows where to take his plea--to the One who has proven Himself faithful so many times before.
God, You've given me relief before ... now hear me once again.
When we take David's cue and ask God to do for us again what He's done for us countless times before, we can make a profound statement of faith in the God Who does not change:
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. (Psalm 4:3 ESV)
We can know this. He hears us when we call. Just like He heard David. Just like He has heard me in the past. Just like He has proven to you in earlier days. And not only does He hear, but He does something miraculous in answer.
When you're in your really tight space today ... don't fret; don't worry; don't work yourself into a frenzy of activity. Call out to God and ask Him to give you the kind of relief He gave David--ask Him to make room for you in tight places.
Blessings and prayers,
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